This program falls into that final 1%. I simply can't figure out how to make it work. Period.
I've just managed to make the game work. Tested on a few missions, appears to work perfectly. This is what I did.
1) I downloaded the open source program DXWND from https://sourceforge.net/projects/dxwnd
2) Make sure you run DXWnd as an administrator
3) Go to file -> Import, open the "Exports" folder in your DXWnd directory and open the F-16 Agressor file
4) Right click on the F-16 Agressor icon now in the screen and choose modify. Rename the file and set "Path" and "Launch" to the F18.exe file in your game folder
5) Untick "Run in window" and tick "fullscreen only"
6) Click on "Try..."
It's messy but it works.
Can you try it? If it works for you too, I'll post on the main game forum and I'll alert the GOG team, maybe this will help them find a better solution.
Thanks! It turns out that I (just yesterday, believe it or not!) was able to get this to run for the very, very first time.
The first thing I did was to copy the GoG installation out of the location it was in and put that copy elsewhere, so I could play around with it. Next, I removed all the "GoG-specific" files (not that they were likely a culprit, just trying to keep things clean). I also removed all the DOSBox stuff, instead using my own set of installed DOSBox versions (and a front end, called D.O.G, which I use to create custom profiles for programs.)
I recently (as in, about a month and a half ago) discovered Dxwnd's latest incarnation (I'd tried it once before, long ago, when it was basically just for running DirectX games in a window instead of the default full-screen mode.. hence the name). But as it turns out, I didn't end up using Dxwnd this time.
I've been using something else... also around for a long time, and "metamorphosized" into something else later on. I'm talking about dgVoodoo... particularly, the latest (v2.54) build. At some point, Dege incorporated Direct3D (and, a bit more easily, DirectDraw) emulation into his wrapper, besides the 3DFX GLide emulation his program was always built around. It can intercept and "fake out" for any version of DirectX from v1 to v8 (It won't do DX9, because DX9 is still present in current systems, at least for the moment, and a wrapper is always a bit worse, given the same hardware, than the native version would be).
In this case, I simply went with Windows 95 compatibility (probably only needed Win98 compatibility, and likely only a subset of that, but I haven't dug that deeply just yet)... and using dgVoodoo to emulate the (now absent) earlier versions of Direct3D (and DirectDraw) with Direct3D 11.
I then went back into the GoG installation and did the same things (not removing the GoG bits). It worked OK, but by bringing the DOSBox version up to date, it works a lot better.
So... yep. I've got it working now...for the very first time. And I've been putting this to work on a whole lot of other programs I have which I "lost" when upgrading from WinXP. There are still some which simply wont' work, of course... but knowing that the reason SOME programs fail is simply because Microsoft has intentionally removed support for DirectX of earlier versions... and that a SINGLE PROGRAMMER (Dege) has been able to fix that, in a very small package... while Microsoft claims "IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!!"... tells us all we really need to know, huh?
It seems you beat me to the punch on this... and I'm sure Dxwnd works just fine (I've resorted to that in several cases when dgVoodoo failed, since Dxwnd is far, far more configurable... albeit far, far more confusing as well!)
Currently, I run Dxwnd mainly to do a Star Trek game which got disabled... "Armada." Using Dxwnd, I can run it just fine (albeit ONLY in a window... I can't make the full-screen work, as there are issues with how the program changes resolution between gameplay, menu, and video playback elements... in a window, the window size simply changes, but in full-screen, using Dxwnd, the thing locks up on a black screen!) Running in a "nearly screen-sized window" works well enough though, all things considered. dgVoodoo failed me in that case.